Marriage & Your Credit Score
When you marry, do you inherit your spouse's bad credit score or history?
Do you inherit bad credit from a partner who has bad credit before you marry them?
- There is no 'marital credit score.'
- Spouses do not inherit each other's scores upon marriage.
- Piggy-backing allows one spouse to benefit from the other's strong score.
The quick answer is: No! You will not inherit your spouse’s credit rating. There is no "marital credit score." One spouse's score can be high, and the other's score may be low, and both will remain that way if they continue their behavior. What you might get however, is that if you jointly apply for a mortgage or a loan, both of your credit ratings will be analyzed if you both apply together.
If you have a high credit score and you spouse has a low score, do not add yourself to your spouse’s cards as an authorized user because your credit score will suffer. If you have low credit and your spouse has excellent credit, ask your spouse to add you as an authorized user, which will pull up your credit score. This is called piggy-backing in the credit report trade.
Practice good credit hygiene. Pay your bills on time. Pay off any delinquent cards or accounts as quickly as possible to improve your credit rating. Do not max-out your credit cards.
It might be important to understand how your credit score is calculated. FICO, VantageScore, and PLUS Score use five variables to calculate a consumer's credit score, including:
- Payment history (any delinquencies, charge-offs, etc.)
- Amount and type of debt owed
- Any maxed-out tradelines (accounts)
- Credit history length
- Number of recent inquiries (so-called "hard-pulls") to the consumer's credit profile
Paying off delinquent or maxed out trade-lines will almost always help your credit score. To learn more, see the credit score resource page.
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